To mark World FM Day 2021 - Celebrating FM: Standing tall beyond the pandemic, Facilitate is featuring the stellar operational workplace and facilities managers who continue to support their colleagues, organisation and broader economy.
What do you do?
I am the FM at Certitude, which operates 150 locations across London to provide services to people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and autism.
What attracted you to FM, and how did you get into the industry?
I’ve always been an attention-to-detail person and passionate about everything. I worked in the IT sector for over a decade before I decided on a career change. FM was a likeable option, where I thought I could use my all-round skills gathered in previous positions.
How long have you been in your current role?
I joined Certitude in January 2018.
Do you see yourself predominantly as a task or a people manager?
As a facilities professional, I think both areas are related to each other. I try to have a strong influence in the management of both tasks and people. I find that having good relationships with people helps me to understand tasks quicker and to deliver the highest possible standard of service. It also makes my job easier and doesn’t cause any unnecessary stress for the stakeholders.
Would you describe your role as predominantly operational or strategic?
My understanding is that FM in any organisation plays a vital role in both operational and strategic planning. My role is no different.
How many people are there in your FM team, and to whom does the FM team ultimately report?
I report to the director of finance, and work closely with the IT team, the reception team and other emergency response teams.
My top perk at work is…
Since joining Certitude, alongside my work I’ve enjoyed taking part in fundraising and mental health awareness activities, including running half-marathons for Certitude in 2018 and 2019. It’s a pleasure working here. I couldn’t ask for more friendly and cooperative colleagues.
What has been your biggest career challenge to date?
When I relocated to the UK and started to build a new career. It was a huge challenge to adopt the culture, and adapt to the climate and at the same time to invest a great amount of time to understand what it takes to work in FM.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
Members’ benefits can be made more attractive, which would encourage them to be more engaged alongside their hectic schedule at work.
Any interesting tales to tell?
In one of my early positions in FM I had five or more line managers. It took me a year to establish my actual job description and that I was supposed to be reporting to only the managing director.
If I wasn’t in facilities management, I’d probably be…
I would’ve probably considered staying in the information technology sector and started a business.
Which “FM myth” would you most like to put an end to?
“They are mostly loners” – I have never felt this has been the case for me. I’ve had great relationships with people and teams around me.
What single piece of advice would you give to a young facilities manager starting out?
Make notes of anything and everything where you think there is a gap. Evaluate those gaps and develop strong opinions and possible solutions. Once you have gained enough experience, enrol in a career-focused course.
What was the weirdest day you’ve had in the office?
In the first month in one job, a window fitter started to fit a glass window without prior approval of the method of work. The work was a little risky. The property managing agent noticed the work and asked them to stop, but the fitters continued. I found it strange for someone to be that careless in a professional capacity.
Early bird or night owl?
I am neither!
What FM job in the world would you love more than anything?
I would like to hold a facilities position in an airport. It was my childhood dream to fly or work in an airport.
And where would FM be an absolute nightmare
Not having enough flexibility to use your expertise in a role can be frustrating.
Your life outside FM mostly involves…
Although, my day-to-day life is well organised, I always find time to talk to my family and watch football. Recently, I started taking flying lessons and am learning to fly a Gladiator.
Bishnu Nath is the facilities manager at Certitude